Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Talking, Drawing, Writing Chapter 3: Drawing


I'm back for Chapter 3!  Sorry it's a day late, I had an interview yesterday and couldn't concentrate on anything else!  I'm getting observed this Friday for an hour before they make their final decision so PLEASE keep me in your prayers this week friends!

Here's what stuck with me from Chapter 3:

  • For young children, drawing is writing.  
  • Drawing is how young children represent and understand meaning.  (For example, my students almost always first start making connections to text through illustrations.  Even now they tend to base predictions of books based more on the cover than the actual title).
  • Drawing is an essential step in language development (particularly in connecting thought and speech).
  • Drawing allows children to go deeper in their stories!
I definitely need to teach about drawing next year.  It's the primary way in which my four year-olds communicate!  Frankly, I'm amazed they developed as much as they did considering I never did a single mini-lesson on drawing.  I'd like you to take a look at the incredible difference one of my authors made in the short space of a month.

The first book by this particular author was definitely interesting!  It contained mostly scribbles and he was unable to recall what he had drawn afterwards.  There wasn't much story structure (notice it is missing a resolution or ending).  He didn't enjoy making books and seldom chose to do so; when he did he hurried through.

The first thing I had to do was validate his identity as an author.  He shared during Author Share the same as everyone else, received feedback, and gradually came to see himself as a writer.  I accepted his approximations and met him where he was at.  My first major teaching point was that pictures match the story in a book!  Not only did I mention this in his individual conferences, but I pointed this out during Read Alouds.  A few weeks later he produced this work...

See the difference?  Wow!  He was consciously connecting his thoughts to his drawing on the paper.  Yay!

P.S. Note that I never write in student books until they have been shared in Author Share and are ready to go home!  From the beginning I communicate to my students that they are responsible for remembering the meaning of their story and for writing a story that communicates meaning to their readers!

So how can I do a better job of supporting students as illustrators next year?  Basically the authors suggest LET CHILDREN DRAW!  Let them draw a variety of objects (real and imaginary), across all content areas, all day long.  Be a role-model for learning and drawing yourself!  I can't WAIT to read Chapter 4 and get some great lessons about the craft of drawing!

The following books are great for teaching kids of various ages how to draw, but are my favorite with young artists!  Check out the entire series for each title below!

Also, Nicole from Steele Teaching shared a GREAT resource from Mrs. Miner that you won't want to miss- Guided Drawing Lessons with a Literacy Twist!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ten Pin Linky Party: Classroom Decor


I was so excited when I saw this linky party and knew I just had to join!  (Not like I spend enough time on Pinterest anyway, right?)  Check out the fun at Ashley's blog by clicking on the picture above!  Here goes... (I give you fair warning- I'm a polka dot addict!)

#1- Cute, editable and totally FREE polka dot labels from Miss Kindergarten Love!


#2- Speaking of polka dots, I LOVE all of Erica's cute stuff, especially this fun and bright Birthday Board with the kiddos holding the number of their birthday!


#3- While we're talking about free things, Cara Carroll made these adorable schedule cards!


#4- Classroom themes from Clutter-Free Classroom (literally every theme imaginable!  Tons of ideas and resources!


#5- Spice rack for those little art supplies (googly eyes, sequins, etc)!


#6- How to decorate clear plastic draws from Maria at Kinder-Craze!  Love her!


#7- 21 Ideas for organizing your classroom library from A Modern Teacher- great ideas!


#8- Speaking of libraries, I love this idea!  (No link for this one, sorry).


#9- This was a fabulous linky party hosted by Debbie at Rainbows Within Reach!  Check it out!



#10- Absolutely adorable and free goodbye rhymes!  My kiddos and I love these!

Check out more decor and organizational ideas by visiting my following Pinterest Boards:


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Talking, Drawing, Writing Chapter 1: Storytelling


I FINALLY got my book today and couldn't wait to start reading!  I just devoured Chapter 1 and am already inspired.  Here's what stuck with me...

Start the year with Storytelling.  Um, big "Duh" moment for me!  Next year we are definitely going to set aside time for oral storytelling.  It makes perfect sense!  Don't we start teaching syllables, segmenting, blending and the like orally?  Why wouldn't you do the same with stories?  I can see how this will lead to great improvement next year in my students' writing.  All year long I couldn't understand how they could tell such detailed stories, but not translate those details to their writing- well duh, I need to teach and role-model the connection between the two!

Writers tell stories about what they know.  This year I noticed my kiddos tended to write stories similar to books we had recently read, and I now know it's because I didn't spend enough time at the beginning of the year building their identity as authors with ideas and stories to tell of their own.  I love the idea of reading a book, then telling a story about a different topic but making the point that writers tell stories about what they know.


Set aside a special time for Storytelling.  We call this "Author Share" in our classroom.  Every day I choose 2-3 clothespins from our Author Share bucket for students to read their stories.  The author sits in a chair (which I definitely need to decorate next year!) while the other students sit "criss-cross applesauce" on the ABC Carpet.

Two things I want to focus on next year- student responses and assessment.  Nicole from Steele Teaching shared this story telling note freebie, which got me thinking about how I want to organize my anecdotal notes and assessments for writer's workshop and guided reading next year (can't wait to read Chapter 6 and see what everyone shares!)

I also wanted to create an anchor chart for Share Time.  I wanted to remind my kiddos of the rules and take them beyond "I liked..."  Here's what I came up with (click on the picture for your freebie):

Graphics courtesy of Scrappin' Doodles

I'm going to take pictures of our class following the steps so I can include them on the anchor chart!  I'm also very excited to model more responses to reading next year.  Regie Routman suggests that during Whole-Class Shares, we need to include both praise and suggestions in her chapter Conference with Students (from Writing Essentials).  I want my students to be able to articulate what they liked, but also ask questions and offer suggestions- for example, "I think you could make her face look sad on that page because she's sad."

Plant a Seed for Drawing/Writing.  After sharing stories for awhile, introduce the possibility of writing stories down by showing students a blank book.  Walk students through ideas for writing/drawing the verbal story on each page.  I LOVED the sample dialogue for how to do this!

So excited to read Chapter 2!  I can already tell this book will be instrumental in how I introduce and teach writer's workshop, especially at the beginning of the year.  Don't forget to check out everyone else's great ideas and link up with your own at the party!  :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Currently June

Has it really been a month?  Where did May go?!?!  (Oh yeah, I think I remember something about assessments and graduation and planning field trips for summer camp...)

Well now that it's June it's time to link up with the lovely Farley!  Here's what's happening...


Listening- Okay bloggy buddies, am I the only one who is constantly listening to music?  (Hence the vacation essential below)... but I've hardly ever seen anyone put that they're listening to a song!

Loving- My family.  They have been so supportive through my (so far unsuccessful) Job Hunt Journey and all the craziness that entails.  I especially love my mom- "Well one day when you're Teacher of the Year you'll look back on all this and it will feel like a lifetime ago."  She is definitely my biggest fan!  :)

Thinking- About a weekend getaway coming up for me and the hubby!  Also I'm considering going to grad school in the near future- any degree suggestions?  I am leaning towards an M.A. in Education with a Reading Teacher endorsement.

Wanting- My new books to get here!  I am so excited for these upcoming summer book studies!


And one that I will actually be hosting a chapter of!  I'm very excited to read this book, I think it will be just what I need to take my writers to the next steps next year.


I'm also on the lookout for some good books about teaching math at the primary level and assessment.  Any suggestions?

Needing- Time to reflect and recharge.  This whole transitioning from end of the school year to summer camp with no time off in the foreseeable near future is not good.

3 Vacation Essentials- Flip flops!  I love summer. I actually live in Colorado so for the most part I wear flip-flops year round (except at school)!  And definitely a book- none of this Kindle/nook nonsense for me.  In the words of Donalyn Miller (I actually got to see her speak once), I'm still waiting for the scent of new pages feature!  :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful summer!  See you soon(er) than last time, I promise!